ELLSWORTH — Dating online is right for many people, but the old-fashioned way also still works.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, The American asked how readers met their mates.
From church, to work, to family, to school, to an emergency, people are still making love connections face to face.
They’re also meeting online.
“You don’t like to meet someone when someone else is having a bad day, but that’s how it happened,” said Mary Carter of Orland.
Romance bloomed for Mary, a nurse, and her husband, Jay, when Mary brought a patient to the Ellsworth High School field for transport by LifeFlight.
Jay Carter, who was then an Ellsworth fireman, was setting up a landing zone for the helicopter.
“Jay was on this local FD [fire department] for many years,” Carter said. “We encountered each other at accident scenes. I did not like him.”
But, that day of the LifeFlight call, the couple started talking.
And talk they did. Both the ambulance crew and the Fire Department drove away, leaving the pair standing there talking.
“I saw a different side of him, he was just very gentle,” Carter said. “He was very caring. The patient was very young.”
The Carters have been married 12 years now.
“He’s one of the good guys,” she said.
Christmas shopping brought another couple together.
Lena Hatch of Salisbury Cove had been running a booth at Maine Coast Mall when her now husband, Dana Hatch, kept swinging by under the guise of shopping.
Lena had recently bought a store in Bar Harbor and would be moving to Maine from Florida in the spring.
“I wasn’t interested,” Lena said. “I wasn’t looking for anybody and nothing appealed to me.”
“He kept fiddling with his change and I thought how irritating is that?” she said.
The two kept talking whenever Dana stopped by. He learned that she and her mother would be driving back to Florida on Christmas Day.
“When he texted me on Christmas Day, that definitely piqued my interest,” Lena said. “It was snowing that day. We were new to snow. He was caring and wondered how our trip was and hoped it was safe.”
“Once we started texting and talking, I found he was genuinely a caring person like no one I’d ever met.”
Lena and Dana have been married three years now.
Shaina Hunt met her husband, Carter, through a blog on which both regularly commented.
“I’m very sarcastic and he understood that about me and me about him,” she said.
The couple formed a friendship through emailing and texting.
“We communicated really well,” Hunt said. “I got to know who he was as a person. I wasn’t trying to date him. I felt he wasn’t trying to date me. I felt like we were friends. From there, our relationship just grew from who we were.”
Carter Hunt, who had been living in Arizona, eventually came to Maine to visit Shaina.
The Hunts, who have been married since 2009, are almost the Brady Bunch. Carter brought three children and Shaina brought one child to the marriage and they had a fifth together.
Robyn Ball and Elaine Phares of Bar Harbor were high school friends who married three decades later.
“We met in physics class in high school,” said Ball. “She was a year older and took notes while I napped.”
“We remained friends and stayed in touch but lost touch for about 10 years,” Ball said. “I found her again about five years ago. After she came to visit on spring break, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. She was my first love.
“Also, having the ability to marry legally was a large part of it,” Ball said. “It just wasn’t an option before.”
Bill DaButler and his wife, Jessica Ann, first met in an art class at MDIHS in 1990.
“We dated for two years, but split up when I went to college,” Bill said. “I married the next girl I dated after her. We were married for 18 years and got divorced. Jessica and I reconnected after 20 years and had a lot to connect on, as we were both going through a divorce at the same time.”
“Our feelings, 20 years later, were still there for each other, and we started dating again in February 2013,” Bill said. “I asked her to marry me on my 40th birthday. I sang a song to her first, in front of many of my friends, it was the Barenaked Ladies song ‘Boomerang.’ It fit because she came back to me.”
Julie Eaton of Stonington met her husband on the sea.
“My husband and I are both commercial lobstermen who run our own boats,” Eaton said. “He was my hero from a very young age, as he is older than I am and had been racing lobster boats and winning world’s fastest lobster boat titles for years.”
“I became good friends with his wife and loved them both,” Eaton said. “His wife got sick with terminal cancer, which was heartbreaking for all who knew her. About a year after she had passed, just before the lobster boat races in Stonington, I called him to ask if I could race his boat in the women’s race. Much to my surprise he said yes. Woo hoo. It was on from that point.
“Two lobstermen brought together by their love for the ocean and for each other. Karen, his much loved wife who was looking on from heaven, had an empty seat at our wedding a year later.”